Manchester United moved into the fifth round of the FA Cup with a 3-1 victory at Derby County on Friday night.

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Wayne Rooney fired the visitors ahead with a wonderful curling strike in the 16th minute, but Derby hit back through George Thorne 21 minutes later. United reasserted their dominance after halftime, however, and restored their lead on Daley Blind"s 65th-minute strike before Juan Mata sealed the win seven minutes from time.

Here, Bleacher Report selects winners & losers from the match.


Rooney scored the first goal of the FA Cup weekend in the first half of Friday"s match, và it could very well turn out khổng lồ be the fourth round"s best.

In the 16th minute, Rooney accepted a pass near the edge of the box on the left and quickly went past Cyrus Christie with an intelligent first touch. After sizing up the target, he curled a precision strike around Scott Carson và into the back of the net for the game"s opening goal.

That marked six goals in Rooney"s last six games in all competitions and three in three away from Old Trafford in 2016. As a point of comparison, consider that Rooney netted just three goals in away matches in all of 2015.

After a difficult start khổng lồ the season, Rooney seems to lớn be rounding into form as the run-in approaches.

Loser: Derby's Continued Run of Poor Form
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Derby County sat atop the Football League Championship on Boxing Day, but that suddenly feels lượt thích a lifetime ago. Since then the Rams have failed to win any of their last five league matches and now find themselves out of the FA Cup.

Considering the opposition, Friday"s loss was perhaps not wholly unexpected, but manager Paul Clement"s men have dropped each of their last three matches in all competitions & have won just once in their last seven.

Following heavy investment in the squad, Derby"s promotion hopes are flailing, and Clement must find a way to turn the tide—and quickly.

“We are a team in a bad moment,” Clement said recently, per Nick Miller at the Guardian. “ I’d certainly rather be going through this bad period now than in March or April.”

Winner: Anthony Martial
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Anthony Martial assisted Manchester United"s first and last goals, setting up Rooney in the 16th minute & Mata seven minutes from time. In between, he tormented Derby"s back line—especially Christie—repeatedly with his pace & direct attacking via the dribble.

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Despite the two assists, however, Martial often found it difficult to supply the end product in the attacking third. Rooney"s goal owed more to lớn brilliant individual finishing than any pass, and more often than not, Martial was let down by his final touch.

That changed in the 84th minute when he (once again) blew past Christie & pulled back a precise pass to lớn Mata, who swept the ball into the net at the far post. With more consistent delivery, Martial would be an absolutely menace khổng lồ any full-back he faces.

Loser: Cyrus Christie
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As noted in the previous slide, Derby County"s Christie endured a torrid night at right-back. The defender consistently came off second best in one-on-one situations against Martial & was rather easily beaten by Rooney for Manchester United"s opener.

Once Manchester United"s plan—give the ball lớn Martial và watch him beat Christie—became apparent, Derby really should have given the full-back a bit of help. But that didn"t happen, và the visitors were able to lớn attack that flank with impunity all night.

Winner: Louis Van Gaal
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A loss tonight might have seen manager Louis van Gaal sacked. Manchester United are all but out of the Premier League title race & have already exited the UEFA Champions League prematurely. An upset at iPro Stadium would have effectively brought Manchester United"s season to lớn an end.

Victory, on the other hand, has helped restore some semblance of optimism. Rooney scored again, Martial starred on the wing, the team played some decent attacking football and United dominated the match for large stretches.

The winner, then, is Van Gaal, who has bought himself at least a bit more time in the manager"s chair. As Mark Ogden noted at the Independent:

Another failure lớn record a trang chủ victory against Stoke city on Tuesday will see a return to lớn the negativity that has smothered Van Gaal in recent weeks, but for once, the Dutchman can close his leather folder with satisfaction and a tick in every box

Van Gaal’s assertion in the build-up khổng lồ this game that he would “continue to the end” at United, insisting he intended khổng lồ see out the final 18 months of his contract, was delivered with the knowledge that he retains the backing of executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, despite a run of just three victories in 13 games prior to this fixture.

Speaking to đài truyền hình bbc Sport, Van Gaal said, "It was maybe better than we had trained. We played at the right time against the resistance of Derby. We gave their goal away, but at half-time I said that it was a good performance, keep it up và we will win. & we did."

Blind plays centre-back for Manchester United, so it was odd lớn see the Dutchman as the farthest man forward as United attacked in the 65th minute. But his intelligent movement và dependable finishing were straight out of a centre-forward"s notebook, and his goal turned out lớn be the winner.

As United built patiently in midfield, Blind sensed an opportunity. Having taken a few touches near the halfway line, he pushed forward into the box & timed his run perfectly lớn latch onto a Jesse Lingard cross. Then, with his first touch, he slotted in past Scott Carson lớn restore the visitors" lead.

It was a great example of efficient attacking football, & the entire sequence showed off Blind"s intelligence as a footballer. But it was also far from his only contribution, with Blind also turning in a strong shift defensively.

"You have to sniff it, và he sniffed it," Van Gaal said of the goal (h/t đài truyền hình bbc Sport). "It was a great goal."